Customary International Law

The Supreme Court Takes Up Sovereign Immunity from Criminal Prosecutions

On the first day of the October 2022 Term, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Türkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. v. United States. The case, put simply, asks whether the U.S. government can bring criminal prosecutions against foreign companies owned by foreign sovereigns. The United States has charged Halkbank, in which Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund has…

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Comparing Extraterritoriality in the EU

How a court decides whether a statute applies extraterritorially is a fundamental question in transnational litigation. TLB has lots of information about the U.S. approach. Our Primer on Extraterritoriality describes the federal and state approaches, as well as the customary international law rules on jurisdiction to prescribe. Recent posts have discussed the extraterritorial application of…

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When Should Federal Common Law Govern Transnational Litigation?

The conventional wisdom is that transnational litigation “can trigger foreign relations concerns.” Because the federal government has primary responsibility for the United States’ relations with other nations, the question naturally arises whether federal law should govern such litigation even when neither a federal statute, nor the U.S. Constitution, nor a treaty is applicable. Currently, as…

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Throwback Thursday: The Tate Letter and Foreign Sovereign Immunity

Seventy years ago this week, Department of State Legal Adviser Jack Tate wrote to Attorney General Philip Perlman to announce a sea change in State’s litigation practice vis-à-vis foreign sovereign immunity. The so-called “Tate Letter” informed the Department of Justice that State would shift from the “classical” approach to sovereign immunity to what’s known as…

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CVSG in Usoyan v. Turkey: Can Turkey Use Force in the United States to Protect Its President?

A violent clash in Washington, D.C. between Turkish security forces and protestors has led to civil litigation with interesting questions about the authority of foreign security details and the immunity to which foreign governments are entitled. Turkey has petitioned for certiorari, and the Supreme Court has shown an interest in the case by calling for…

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Customary International Law’s Domestic Status: Reflections After Twenty-Five Years

We are grateful to Bill Dodge for highlighting our 1997 article on the domestic legal status of customary international law.  In that article, we critically analyzed what we referred to as the “modern position,” which is the claim made by some academics and the Restatement (Third) of Foreign Relations Law that customary international law has…

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Throwback Thursday: Revisiting Bradley and Goldsmith’s “Critique of the Modern Position”

Twenty-five years ago, Professors Curtis Bradley and Jack Goldsmith shook the fields of transnational litigation, federal courts, and foreign relations law by questioning the conventional wisdom that customary international law has the status of federal common law. Their article Customary International Law as Federal Common Law: A Critique of the Modern Position, published in the…

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A Primer on Extraterritoriality

Extraterritoriality refers to the application of a state’s law beyond the state’s borders. Although the word “extraterritorial” often has negative connotations, international law permits a great deal of extraterritorial regulation. In a world where trade, information, crime, and lots of other things regularly cross borders, states often have an interest in regulating beyond the strict…

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Ingrid (Wuerth) Brunk

Vanderbilt Law School
ingrid.wuerth@vanderbilt.eduEmail

William Dodge

UC Davis School of Law
wsdodge@ucdavis.eduEmail

Maggie Gardner

Cornell Law School
mgardner@cornell.eduEmail

John F. Coyle

University of North Carolina School of Law
jfcoyle@email.unc.eduEmail

Zachary D. Clopton

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
zclopton@law.northwestern.eduEmail

Noah Buyon

Duke University School of Law
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Will Moon

University of Maryland
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William K. McGoughran

Vanderbilt Law School
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Chimène Keitner

UC Davis School of Law
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Catherine Amirfar

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
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Justin R. Rassi

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
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Isabelle Glimcher

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
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Ben Köhler

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law
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Aaron D. Simowitz

Willamette University College of Law
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Timothy D. Lytton

Georgia State University College of Law
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